Recently I have had some small diversion from the tedium of the blockage and a distraction from my longing for you and the boys. All our water stores were found to have become corrupted, so it was necessary to rewater right away. A sailor named Miller was sent ashore to look for a good source, He had been a soldier before and they are sometimes more skilled at such things. Miller soon found a spring pond, the location was not ideal, but the water was good. To get the barrels to the good water they would have to be floated and dragged up a shallow, swampy creek, then up a small hill to the spring pond. The Doctor sent me along with the water detail, supposedly in case one should be injured, but more likely to collect any odd insects, plants or creatures that we saw. The Captain will not allow him on the American shore for fear he might be captured.
It was quite a troublesome task getting our barrels to the Spring, but once there the water was very nice. We had to float the barrels out into the pond to fill them. We had not been long employed before Miller says 'Bloody Hell". I have learned that when an English says "Bloody Hell" it can mean that he is surprised, shocked, disgusted, greatly pleased, hurt or disagrees with something said very strongly. This time it was surprised I think. When I look to him I see that he is tugging on something attached to his ankle that stretches as he pulls it. It was a leech of a type I had never seen before!
So all the sailors stop working and begin to search themselves for leeches. One named Mcquery had three, but most have none. I tried to collect all of them, but some the sailors had injured by pulling them off to roughly. As soon as the boson Hollybrass finds that he has none on hisself he roars “Back to work ye sluggards! Afraid of worms! Ye should all be ashamed!”
So they all go back to work and the barrels are soon filled, which was the easiest part of the job. When we are done I tell Hollybrass I wish to keep Mcquery- since the leeches seemed to prefer him- and stay behind for a bit. He starts to tell me no, but when I say it is for the Doctor he tells me just to be sure they do not have to wait on us. All the sailors think well of the Doctor.
So I have a bottle of sprits the Doctor has sent with me to pickle creatures in. As soon as they are gone I tell Mcquery he can have it all If he will just lay down in the water. “I would bath in a trough o’ them leeches fer a bottle o’ pure spirits like that!” he says and lays right down. He is Irish and spirits is as mothers milk to them. The bites he had from before were still bleeding, and leeches can smell blood in the water. So he lays there contentedly drinking the spirits and the leeches come to us .Before we left I collected another eight from him.
When I go to get him to leve he is unsteady on his feet. I suppose the spirits were stronger than what he was acustomed to. For an Irish this was a surprise to me. When we get back to the cutter Hollybrass is upset- “he’s pissed” he says of Mcquery. “It is from to much blood taked by the leeches” I tell him. “Which you’ll be doing the explaining if an officer sees him when we get aboard” he says.
But we keep him away from the officers when we get aboard and it all ends well. I have found the American leeches to be inferior top the ones from Europe- but we have few of those left so cousin Jonathan’s leeches are stilled welcomed .
Rumors abound of the War’s end, at least here in North America. I hope and pray it is true.
Ever your loving husband,